In the 2016 campaign, Democrats decided Flint, Michigan, was going to be the centerpiece evidence of uncaring Republicanism. To Michigan residents, it seemed an odd choice. Even in Flint’s surrounding suburbs, blaming anyone but Flint for Flint’s problems fell on deaf ears.
But this crisis seemed too good to go to waste. So Bernie and Hillary trooped over and joined the chorus that Republicans had poisoned Flint. It was a little like blaming the chaos in Somalia on the U.S. troops who came to feed people.
Flint’s descent into anarchy was decades in the making. Leadership in the city and county was made up of a toxic combination of union and ethnic politics that drove away business and hindered law enforcement. Local Democrats were in charge every step of the way -- except when governors, both Republican and Democrat, sent financial managers to restore some fiscal guidelines to prevent total collapse.